Want Your Oven To Last? Don't Do This (Very Often)

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The self-cleaning oven feature seems like a great solution to the tedious job of manually cleaning an oven. But the solution causes its own problems.

Our Thermador oven is almost 20 years old. It’s been a great and loyal oven over the years. About a year ago, I noticed the convection fan getting loud when it started up. You could hear it hitting some other piece of metal, but eventually, it quietened down and worked normally. I knew the convection feature’s days were numbered.

After a few more months, the convection fan stopped working altogether. Because it’s an old oven and the elements were still working, I haven’t bothered to service it. It turns however, my oven is so old that they don’t make the parts for it anymore anyway so there isn’t much that can be done.

An Oven's Self-Cleaning Feature Can Prematurely End The Convection Cooking's Function

In the meantime, I discovered that I am likely responsible for the convection fan's death. According to a post on Reddit, if you use the self-cleaning function on your oven often, you run the risk of damaging the convection fan bearings. Apparently, a Redditor posted that the convection on their Samsung oven had stopped working and the response was:

Do you use the oven self-clean function? Often this can severely degrade the fan bearings life. Happened with my KitchenAid too and the repair guy said it was the main reason for failure in his experience.

So, of course, that led me to do some research and it turns out that using the self-cleaning feature on your oven is one of the surest ways of causing problems, from wearing down the bearings on the convection fan to blowing a fuse to burning out the control panel.

According to the blog, Lifesavvy, manufacturers make self-cleaning ovens because customers demand them. Unfortunately, because of the hidden elements in newer ovens, the temperature needs to rise beyond what the oven is really capable of handling – which can lead to overheating, fuse blowing or control panel burning out.

Regarding our 18-year old Thermador oven, my cleaning zeal has destroyed the convection fan.

Further, Bob Vila’s website notes that using your self-cleaning feature produces noxious gases including carbon monoxide. If you are going to use the feature ensure you have plenty of ventilation going throughout the process. On top of that, a high-heat self-cleaning cycle uses about 8 kWh of electricity. That’s about a third of all the electricity our house uses in a typical day – just to clean the oven!

Tips for Using Your Oven's Self-Cleaning Feature (If You Really Have To)

If you are going to use the self-cleaning feature here are some other tips we've gleened from sources around the web (although we can't guarantee it won't lead to a blown fuse or electronic panel):

  • Wipe down any large burnt pieces found at the bottom of the oven
  • Remove all metal racks ahead of time or the finish will dull
  • Use the shortest time setting possible to prevent a fuse or control panel blow out
  • Manually clean your oven monthly (when it’s warm is easiest)
  • Aim to use the self-cleaning feature a maximum of 1 to 2 times per year (it will save on your electricity bill too)

If it's time to get a new oven, check out our article 5 Tips For Buying a New Cooking Appliance

Self-cleaning oven resources: